Sneezing into a tissue is the way most of us have been taught to deal with the spread of unwanted germs, but according to health experts we’ve been doing it all wrong.
Currently Australians are suffering through their worst influenza season in 15 years and containing the spread of highly infectious germs has become a top priority for the Australian Medical Association.
While there is pressure to call hygiene habits into line, the biggest problem has to do with the way Australians sneeze.
- A deadly outbreak of flu has experts calling for a change to sneezing habits
- The current method of ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ isn’t enough to contain germs
- Children’s hygiene habits are under scrutiny with a push for more education
- Femail reveals the ‘best way’ to sneeze, according to health professionals
University of Sydney Associate Professor Guy Eslick told The Daily Telegraph the current method of using a tissue to capture the potentially harmful spray is wrong, and a better way would be to adopt the ‘elbow sneeze’.
He recommends the American style sneezing motion – known as ‘the dab’ because it’s similar to a sporting gesture – because its thought to be a more effective way of capturing harmful germs.
‘It all comes back to a public education – the government should be taking a more proactive approach.’
Hand Hygiene Australia director Professor Lindsay Grayson is also wants the ‘elbow sneeze’ to become common practice because of how effective it is at reducing the spread of the ‘flu virus.
‘Sneezing or coughing into your elbow should be considered the new good etiquette. It’s better than into hand or snotty handkerchief,’ he said.
‘It’s better to sneeze into tissues and throw it away and then wash your hands but what you don’t want to do is sneeze straight into hands then touch something.’
In Britain and NSW health authorities have run a “catch it, bin it, kill it” campaign to educate people to stop the spread of germs by sneezing into a tissue, disposing of it and washing hands.
The current recommendation by the NSW national health body is is to use an elbow when coughing or if there is not tissue handy however it understood a re-evaluation could be necessary.
‘While NSW Health prefers people to use disposable tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, we agree using your elbow is the next best option,’ said NSW Health director of communicable disease Dr Vicky Sheppeard.
‘NSW Health will be evaluating the 2017 campaign at the end of the flu season before planning next year’s campaign.’